WNYC Studios’ “Only Human” Prepares Listeners for Holiday Family Gatherings with Month-Long “Listen Up!” Project

WNYC Studios’ “Only Human” Prepares Listeners for Holiday Family Gatherings
with Month-Long “Listen Up!” Project

Listeners to Popular Health-Oriented Podcast Invited to Test Their Hearing and
Join in a Weeklong Bootcamp to Enhance Hearing, Listening, Empathy, Memory and More


Join “Only Human’s” Mission to Make Us Better Communicators by Thanksgiving

(November 11, 2015 – New York, NY ) – Our hearing bring us our greatest joys, but it can also separate us when we feel we’re not actually being listened to.

Just in time for those communication-heavy holiday gatherings, Only Human, WNYC Studios’ new podcast about our quest for health, launches “Listen Up!,” a month-long audience engagement project offering exercises designed to amp up our listening and communication skills. Only Human host Mary Harris will be joined on the podcast by a diverse group of experts including noted arbitrator Ken Feinberg, memory expert/author Joshua Foer and comedian, vlogger and MTV “Decoded” host Franchesa Ramsey for a wide-ranging look at the many skills sets that affect our capacity to hear someone. 

All content, participatory events and audience feedback will be found at www.onlyhuman.org.

Through Friday, November 13

“How Old Are Your Ears?” Partnership with the Mimi Hearing Test App  

The vast majority of Americans skip an annual hearing test, though an estimated 20% may suffer from hearing loss that could affect their communication. Through November 13, listeners can get a gauge on the health of their hearing via a partnership with the popular Mimi app by visiting http://www.wnyc.org/story/how-old-are-your-ears/.  Participants can opt-in to share their hearing result, compare it to others’ and share how their hearing affects their day-to-day life. The results will be revealed in an upcoming episode .


Monday, November 16 – Friday, November 20

“Listen Up! Be A Better Listener” Bootcamp

It’s not easy to improve our hearing. But with a little practice, each of us has the ability to sharpen our listening skills. This week, Only Human invites fans to participate in a listening bootcamp. With guidance from a memory champion, a world-class legal mediator, actors and improv comics Only Human will present five challenges designed to raise awareness of the many factors that go into good listening. The challenge week starts with an online assessment to find out what type of listener you are. With their “listening type” in mind, the audience will go into the week of challenges knowing what kind of skills they can aim to improve.

Monday: Face2Face with Franchesca Ramsey -- Instead of that text or email response, try some face time. Talk to people in person or just call - remember that? The audience will be guided through the exercise with the help of noted comedienne and MTV “Decoded” host Franchesca Ramsey, best known to millennials as the face behind the popular YouTube channel/vlog Chescaleigh.

Tuesday: Mirror, Mirror with Okieriete (Oak) Onaodowan – Oak Onaodowan prepares for each of his performances playing James Madison in the Broadway smash "Hamilton" by studying the body language of people he passes on the street and bringing that physicality to the stage. Taking a page from acting class, today's challenge involves finding a partner and “mirroring” each other’s body language for a few minutes.  Bonus: send a video documenting your experience to share on the Only Human website.

Wednesday: Take a Breather with Ken Feinberg – Take three minutes of silence. Listen to the sounds around you or focus on your breathing. Do it right before you go to work. Bonus: try this a few times today before transitions (meeting with a client or picking up your kids).  Guest Ken Feinberg, noted attorney and mediator of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, talks about how empathetic listening – letting others speak without inserting your own opinion – has been instrumental in his work with clients who have been through significant loss.

Thursday: Memorize This with Joshua Foer – Thankfully, most conversations do not involve thousands of random numbers, but many situations in life involve meeting a lot of people. Memory champion and best-selling author Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein) gives a trick for remembering the names of people you meet while mingling this holiday season.

Friday: Yes, and...! with Molly Lloyd from the Upright Citizens Brigade -- Listen with the intent to agree, without discounting or interjecting, and see what happens. It’s a trick that improv comedians use to keep conversation flowing.  Molly Lloyd demonstrates the power of positive listening.


November 24

“Put It to Work” 

After building our listening muscles, it’s time to put them to work – at Thanksgiving. Only Human wraps up its “Listen Up!” project by asking participants to share what they have learned and to talk about how being better listeners will come in handy at their next big family gathering. Franchesca Ramsey, Ken Feinberg and Joshua Foer will come back to share their thoughts on what it means to listen well around the Thanksgiving table.

Support for Only Human and WNYC’s other health initiatives is provided by the Charina Endowment Fund, The Hearst Foundations, Jane and Gerald Katcher and the Katcher Family Foundation, The Iris and Junming Le Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Simons Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and The Winston Foundation.


WNYC Studios is the premier producer of on-demand and broadcast audio. Born from the team that created some of the most critically acclaimed and popular podcasts of the last decade, WNYC Studios is leading the new golden age in audio with high-quality storytelling that informs, inspires, and delights millions of intellectually curious and highly engaged listeners across digital, mobile, and broadcast platforms. WNYC Studios creates some of the most beloved audio series, including “Radiolab,” “Freakonomics Radio,” “Death, Sex & Money,” “Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin,” “Note to Self,” “On the Media,” “The Takeaway,” and “Studio 360.” Their programs include personal narratives, deep journalism, interviews that reveal, and smart entertainment as varied and intimate as the human voice itself. For more information, visit http://wnycstudios.wnyc.org.